English English Spanish Spanish

What is medical malpractice?

When you entrust a doctor with your healthcare, there is a level of obligation that a professional has to you. He or she must follow certain standards in providing care and treat you in a manner that puts your safety first.

When a doctor or other health professional fails in the duty of care, it becomes medical malpractice. You have a right under the law to bring a claim against the medical provider.


The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys explains medical malpractice occurs due to negligence of a medical provider that leads to an injury of some type to a patient. There are certain factors that must be present in your situation to prove malpractice happened.


You must show the doctor had a duty to care for you and failed to provide you a standard of care. The standard of care comes from what a reasonable professional would do in the situation. For example, if you go to the doctor with chest pains, the standard of care would be to check your heart for issues.

You also must show you suffered some type of damage or injury. Whatever the doctor did wrong must cause you a problem. If it does not, then you do not have a case. It also must be significant. If the doctor’s actions caused you to lose a half-day of work, that is probably not significant enough to lead to a malpractice claim.

Lastly, you need to show negligence on the part of the healthcare professional. You must show the negligence led to your injury or damage. Without negligence, you do not have a case.

Medical malpractice can be tricky because it requires meeting some strict standards to prove your case.